Chancellor Thomas K. Harden has selected four individuals to receive UW-Green Bay’s highest community honor, the Chancellor’s Award, at May 2014 commencement in recognition of outstanding lifetime contributions to the institution. They are Mike Kline, Janet and Charlie Lieb, and Larry L. Weyers.
The awards will be made early in the program during the commencement ceremony that will begin at 11:30 a.m. this Saturday (May 17) at the Kress Events Center on campus.
• Mike Kline is a 1988 graduate of UW-Green Bay who has served his alma mater and community for three decades as employee, volunteer and advocate. Chancellor Harden says he wanted to honor Kline, the first active employee in school history to receive the Chancellor’s Award, for his tireless energy and “absolute devotion to this University and to our students. He is a wonderful ambassador and recruiter for UW-Green Bay.”
Kline was a returning adult student when then-athletics director Dan Spielmann hired him as part-time coach of the Phoenix men’s and women’s cross country teams in 1987. Kline stayed on as coach after graduating with a triple major in Human Development, Psychology and Philosophy. This fall’s Phoenix cross country squad will be his 28th.
In 1999, Kline accepted additional duties as academics coordinator for all Phoenix teams. Supervising study tables, monitoring grades and counseling and cajoling those who need it, he’s helped the program achieve 30 consecutive semesters of cumulative grade point averages above 3.0, winning the respect of faculty and staff as well as other NCAA Division I programs.
• Janet and Charlie Lieb have been dedicated, hands-on difference makers for UW-Green Bay’s signature Phuture Phoenix program. The initiative encourages local fifth-graders by providing campus tours and follow-up programming, pairing them with college-age mentors, and motivating them to graduate from high school and pursue higher education. The Liebs were among the first community volunteers to sign on in support.
They continue to be dedicated volunteers, both during the annual Phuture Phoenix tour days on campus and in the offshoots and start-ups that have extended the program into area middle and high schools. Additionally, the Liebs endowed the Janet and Charles Lieb Phuture Phoenix Scholarship, which provides assistance for UW-Green Bay students who participated in the program as children.
Both Janet, a 1993 UW-Green Bay grad, and Charlie, longtime president of PDQ Manufacturing, Inc., and chairman of the Green Bay Packers Foundation committee, are active in support of a number of non-profits and community causes, including UW-Green Bay Athletics, but they make Phuture Phoenix a priority.
• Larry L. Weyers has distinguished himself as a strong supporter of UW-Green Bay and its students, whether as private citizen, generous community advocate or influential corporate executive.
When Weyers was CEO and president of Wisconsin Public Service Corp. and, later, Integrys Energy Group, the regional utility WPS was among the first companies to earn the UW Regents’ Partnership Award for its work with UW-Green Bay. Weyers and WPS helped power University initiatives including the construction of Mary Ann Cofrin Hall as a national showcase for energy-efficient technology. WPS organized an annual “Solar Olympics” for local high schools and sponsored a solar research station on campus, and supported faculty and student research.
Weyers and his wife, Lois, have been active philanthropists, as well. From the Phuture Phoenix pre-college program to the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, their interests have spanned a range of University activities and offerings. The couple made a major pledge in support of the revitalization of the Weidner Center and the objective of increasing the number of both local and touring productions. Larry Weyers has volunteered his time to assist major capital fundraising for the University.